A few weeks ago I theorized that Republican views of various things change dramatically depending on whether a Republican is in the White House. Their view of the economy brightens almost instantly. They approve of bombing campaigns. They suddenly decide the income tax they pay is pretty fair after all.

Democrats do the same thing, but Republicans do it more. Via Twitter, Evan Horowitz points me to another bit of evidence from Pew Research in favor of this theory:

Democrats are basically in the range of 20-40 percent regardless of who's in the White House. Republicans range from 10-60 percent. Their trust in government plummeted nearly 50 points when Clinton and Obama won. Democrats stayed pretty stable when Reagan won and dropped only about 20 points when Bush won.

However, I have a couple of caveats. First, Republican loss of faith seems to begin in the last couple of years of a Republican presidency, either because they start to feel betrayed or because they sense doom around the corner. I've used a rolling average in my chart to smooth things out a bit, but the timeline looks the same if you don't.

Second, nobody is bringing counter-examples to my attention. That might be because they don't exist, or it might be because my readers aren't looking for evidence of this sort.

Still, the evidence does seem to be surprisingly consistent: Republican voters are far angrier about a Democrat in the White House than Democrats are about a Republican in the White House. This probably explains a few things, but I'm not quite sure what yet.

Donald Trump may or may not have a recording system in the White House, but Vladimir Putin says he's willing to provide a record of last week's meeting between Trump and Russia's foreign minister:

“If the U.S. administration finds this appropriate, we’re ready to provide a record of the conversation between Lavrov and Trump to the U.S. Senate and Congress,” the Russian president said. The Russian word for “record” can refer to an audio recording, but the Interfax news agency quoted a Kremlin aide, Yuri V. Ushakov, as telling reporters that Moscow had in its possession a written record of the conversation, not a recording.

Officials in Washington have said that Mr. Trump disclosed to Mr. Lavrov highly classified information provided by Israeli intelligence about a planned terrorist operation by the Islamic State extremist group.

Mr. Putin dismissed that claim, saying, “It’s hard to imagine what else these people who generate such nonsense and rubbish can dream up next.”

You have to give Putin credit: he sure knows how to troll us. I can hardly wait for the first Republican in Congress to take him up on his offer.

UPDATE: This was not my original headline. I immediately recognized it as the work of the notorious Ben Dreyfuss, and sure enough, that's what the evidence of the revision history shows. J'accuse!

Dan Drezner is in town hawking his new book, so I went up to UCLA on Tuesday afternoon to have lunch with him. We've "known" each other for 15 years, and it seemed high time we actually met each other. Our lunch conversation was exactly what you'd expect: a dozen or so variations of open-mouthed amazement at the first hundred days of the Donald Trump shitshow. You've heard it all before.

Anyway, I took the rest of the day off and puttered around LA. When I finally got home, I ate a few quick bites and then did a brief check-in to see if anything had happened.

And...it turns out that after a meeting with Trump in February, James Comey wrote a memo saying that Trump had explicitly asked him to kill the investigation into Mike Flynn's ties to Russia. Suddenly impeachment isn't just some wackadoodle idea from the fever swamps. This is the real deal. We have a president who makes wild accusations of wiretapping against his predecessor; blabs top secret information to the Russians; asks the FBI director to kill an investigation involving his friends; and is pretty clearly deteriorating mentally before our eyes. This is a time bomb that we really can't afford to ignore any longer. It's time for Republicans to step up.

Lunchtime Photo

This is a split-level birdhouse in Silverado Canyon. It's a bit of a fixer-upper, but pretty nice for a young couple starting out.

Donald Trump is bragging today that industrial production "surged" in April. And sure enough, it was up 1.7 percent compared to last year. That's not bad. But you know what else increased since last year? The population of the United States. Here's the industrial production index from the Federal Reserve adjusted for population growth:

That tiny blip at the end represents the surge. So don't get too excited. Per capita industrial production in the US has been roughly flat for the past four years and nothing that Trump has done so far—or is likely to do—has much chance of changing that dramatically.

Seriously?

That's from the San Jose Mercury News. There are only a few possibilities here:

  1. Sean Spicer has already resigned and is only staying on until a replacement is hired. So he knows all about this.
  2. Spicer doesn't know Trump is planning to fire him and Guilfoyle was supposed to keep it confidential.
  3. Spicer doesn't know but nobody in Trumpland gives a shit how he finds out he's been fired.

It must be a real joy working in the White House these days.

National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster at a press briefing this morning: President Trump didn't reveal anything wrong to the Russians. "It was wholly appropriate to that conversation."

So there you have it. McMaster refuses to say if the information Trump shared with the Russian foreign minister was classified; whether it came from a foreign partner; whether it had been shared with anyone else; whether it referred to a specific city; whether his own office was in touch this morning with the NSA and CIA about this; or whether anyone has spoken with the foreign partner about what happened. He'll say only that it was "appropriate" over and over and over.

But at the very end of his Q&A, McMaster (accidentally?) says Trump hadn't even been briefed on the source of the information he shared. He had no idea where it came from.

McMaster is going to regret saying this. He basically said that Trump blabbed about this stuff even though he had no idea how sensitive it was. And why didn't he know? McMaster scurried off the stage before anyone could ask, but the best guess is that Trump refuses to read even the bullet points in the one-page intelligence briefings he insists on. So he had no idea just how sensitive this stuff was.

From Maggie Haberman, Trump whisperer extraordinaire at the New York Times:

It's good to know that everyone who works for Trump is well aware of the possibility that their boss might blurt out top secret information at any time to anybody. And since Trump is 70 and declining mentally, this will only get worse.

In other news, Trump defended himself this morning against charges that he blabbed top secret information to the Russian foreign minister—though "defend" might not be quite the right word. Like Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, he took to Twitter to tell us that he damn well did blab top secret information and it's totally OK because he's the president. In doing so, he also seems to have blabbed a bit more about just what the secret is: something to do with explosives in laptop computers. And other evidence suggests the information may have come from Jordan or Israel. So now just about everything is out there. I'm sure Jordanian/Israeli intelligence is pleased.

Do you have a friend or relative who's having a lot more "senior moments" than they used to? Your doctor has ways to diagnose what's really going on. She can perform neurological exams, mental status tests, mood assessments, and, in cases where the patient has unusually heavy responsibilities that make it especially important to get a firm diagnosis, brain imaging scans that distinguish between healthy neurons and diseased neurons:

In patients who are showing signs of dementia, brains scans will show a buildup of amyloid plaque that destroys the tau proteins that keep the brain's messaging system running smoothly. The result is disintegrating microtubules and tangled nerve cells.

Don't worry: insurance will cover the cost of these tests if you work for a large employer like the federal government. So keep an eye out for the warning signs: isolation from friends,1 irritability and unpredictable fits of temper,2 poor judgment,3 difficulty speaking plainly,4 trouble understanding visual images like maps,5 difficulty planning things,6 and memory lapses.7

1cnn.com/2017/05/12/politics/trump-comey-white-house-morale-fallout/
2redux.slate.com/cover-stories/2017/05/trumps-rage-powers-his-ruthlessness-and-his-ineptitude.html
3nytimes.com/2017/05/15/us/politics/trump-russia-classified-information-isis.html
4portlandmercury.com/blogtown/2017/04/25/18971137/the-best-parts-of-trumps-trainwreck-ap-interview
5cnn.com/videos/politics/2017/04/28/trump-electoral-maps-reuters-interview-newday.cnn
6politico.com/story/2017/05/15/donald-trump-fake-news-238379
7nbcnews.com/video/trump-forgets-to-sign-executive-order-911564355790

Over at the Washington Post, Greg Miller and Greg Jaffe report that President Trump is an idiot:

President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said that Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State....The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said that Trump’s decision to do so risks cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State.

....“This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”

Meanwhile, over at Foreign Policy, Robbie Gramer reports that our allies think Trump is an idiot too:

NATO is scrambling to tailor its upcoming meeting to avoid taxing President Donald Trump’s notoriously short attention span. The alliance is telling heads of state to limit talks to two to four minutes at a time during the discussion, several sources inside NATO and former senior U.S. officials tell Foreign Policy. And the alliance scrapped plans to publish the traditional full post-meeting statement meant to crystallize NATO’s latest strategic stance.

....“It’s kind of ridiculous how they are preparing to deal with Trump,” said one source briefed extensively on the meeting’s preparations. “It’s like they’re preparing to deal with a child — someone with a short attention span and mood who has no knowledge of NATO, no interest in in-depth policy issues, nothing,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “They’re freaking out.”

The Republican Party has a lot to answer for. When that day comes, it's going to come hard.